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The Origins of the Ownership SocietyHow the Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America$
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Edward A. Zelinsky

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339352

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339352.001.0001

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What Does It Mean? Consumption Taxation, Tax Expenditures, and the Future of the Internal Revenue Code

What Does It Mean? Consumption Taxation, Tax Expenditures, and the Future of the Internal Revenue Code

Chapter:
(p.119) CHAPTER FIVE What Does It Mean? Consumption Taxation, Tax Expenditures, and the Future of the Internal Revenue Code
Source:
The Origins of the Ownership Society
Author(s):

Edward A. Zelinsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339352.003.0005

This chapter places the defined contribution paradigm in the context of contemporary tax policy debates about consumption taxation and tax expenditures. It concludes that, under the most likely scenarios, the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm will persist as central features of federal tax law. A cash flow consumption tax would represent the ultimate extension, indeed the triumph, of the defined contribution paradigm since all savings would occur through individual accounts. The most likely future of the Code is the continuation of the status quo, whether that status quo is considered a proto-consumption tax or an imperfect income tax laden with tax preferences. It is unlikely that Congress will upset that status quo by jettisoning the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm as this would defeat the expectations and raise the taxes of Congress's middle and upper-middle class constituents.

Keywords:   consumption taxation, tax expenditures, cash flow consumption tax, individual accounts, defined contribution, tax policy, IRA

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